Do any of you remember Dylann Roof? Here’s a mugshot.
Dylann Roof is currently awaiting trial for charges relating to the 2015 Charleston church shooting, in which he entered into a predominantly African-American church and proceeded to brutally gun down nine people.
Dylann Roof was a terrorist. He was a sick and evil man, and I don’t call him sick to absolve him of responsibility for his crimes. His was a cold and calculated act of mass murder intended to terrorize black Americans and show the world the power of his evil white supremacist ideology.
When the media dissected the Dylann Roof case, they were sure to point out the obvious and salient link between his crime of killing 9 black people and his white supremacist and white nationalist ideologies. Every news outlet from the Washington Post to Salon talked about the crucial importance of racism as a motivating factor for the terroristic actions that Roof chose to take against his own fellow Americans. They did not absolve white supremacy or white nationalism of any guilt by pointing to evidence of any mental illness of Roof – and rightly so, because there are millions of mentally ill people in the US and across the world who don’t go out and shoot up black churches because of it. The man was a racist, a white nationalist, and a terrorist, and I’m one of many other Americans praying that he gets the death sentence I know he deserves.
Given that, I find it a little strange given the coverage after the events of last Saturday, where a Muslim American born to Afghan immigrants perpetrated the single worst mass shooting in our nation’s entire history, with gays as the intended target.
Like Dylann Roof, Omar Mateen had an ideology directly linked to the actions he took and the targets he chose. His ideology, however, was a religious one. Mateen was a Sunni Muslim, a faith in which the penalty for homosexual acts is death as mandated in Sharia Law. This is currently enforced in 11 Muslim majority countries, and in others which do not enforce the death penalty, like Bangladesh, local Muslim groups often carry out killings themselves, such as when Xulhaz Mannan, the former editor of Bangladesh’s only LGBT magazine, was brutally hacked to death. Bangladesh, by the way, is by no means tolerant; homosexual acts are illegal in Bangladesh and punishable by up to life in prison.
Islam’s stance on gay rights is well known. The most important Sunni and Shi’a countries, Saudi Arabia and Iran, both of which possess massive numbers of clergymen who devote their entire lives to religious matters, institute and advocate for the death penalty for homosexuality. An Iranian cleric speaking in an Orlando mosque near where the recent shooting just took place said so just this year, stating “Death is the sentence… there’s nothing to be embarrassed about”.
For any reasonable person, the direct link between the Islamic faith and its mandates and the actions that Omar Mateen took last Saturday should be eminently obvious.
Why is it, then, that nobody is blaming radical Islam?
After Dylann Roof’s terroristic rampage in which 9 innocent souls were brutally murdered in a place of worship, Obama condemned the ‘blight’ of racism – and rightly so. But after 49 were brutally shot down in a space designed to accommodate their identity, with over 100 killed or injured, making this the worst terrorist attack on US soil since 9/11 and the worst mass shooting in all of US history, Obama said nothing about Islamic terrorism. He did not even mention the words ‘Islamic terrorism’. Many news outlets are doing the same; the HuffPost was castigated by Breitbart after blaming everything but Islam, up to and including Ted Cruz, gun control, and and Pope Francis.
The double standard here is as clear as day. It is sickening and it is utterly unethical. Dylann Roof was a racist and a terrorist. I as a white person condemn Dylann Roof and the racist ideology that motivated him to murder innocents in Charleston. I am glad that our president blamed racism for the killing, and hope that his actions will have discredited his ideology so that it will fall into the graveyard of history books.
But the hypocrisy of the president and of western media outlets in refusing to condemn the link between Omar Mateen’s crimes and the religious ideology that motivated him to murder innocents in Orlando is beyond belief. There are no words to describe this incidence of insidious dishonesty and double standards. By not condemning the cause of these killings, we fail to move towards a solution. And we pave the ground for the deaths of more innocents as a consequence.